New Mental Health Report highlights the need for systematic change within the creative industry


Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 12.10.10 pm.jpgDeeply affected by many stories of creatives compromising their own mental health due to a stressful working environments, Melbourne-based strategic design consultancy Tank saw a need for individuals to be given the opportunity to voice their concerns.

With over 20 years experience in the creative industry, Tank felt it necessary to open up mental health conversations in order to provoke an industry to listen and respond.

The results of the survey were confronting and highlighted an urgent need for the creative industry to change for the better.

Tank’s general manager, Karina Dea explains why Tank was driven to create the survey. Says Dea: “We decided to use our position in this industry, to provide a platform for those voices to be heard and hopefully affect positive change.

“Surveying over 350 people around the world, and with over 500 downloads in just three days of its release, it is clear that the report has struck a chord.

“The word ‘fear’ appeared in responses repeatedly, there is a lot of fear in our industry, fear of failure, fear of abuse from senior staff, fear of redundancy and more. Other themes that came through strongly were perfectionism, impact of mental health on relationships, bullying and discrimination.

“We were staggered to read responses about shouting and threats in the workplace.”

In addition to giving voice to employees legitimate concerns, the survey also tried to gain another perspective from the working environment, asking business owners about their own pressures.

Respondents also had the opportunity to describe their ideal workplace which included natural light, quiet spaces and supportive policies; open plan workplaces and working long hours received a great deal of criticism.

Overwhelmed by the response and also deep concern for the industry as a whole, Tank’s first step was to create the 2018 Mental Health & Creativity Report and release it publicly. Tank then aims to monitor the industry’s progress by running the survey annually.

Jim Antonopoulos, Tank’s managing director, is clear in what he hopes the 2018 Mental Health & Creativity Report can achieve. Says Antonopoulos: “We believe in creative leadership and have dedicated a key part of our business in helping creative people do just that — lead.

“I hope this document empowers people to have an open conversation about the issues which contribute to anxiety, depression and other mental health issues in their workplace.

“We hope it forces positive change in work/life balance and moves businesses to improve outdated, unethical and unhealthy practices.”

Being widely shared nationally and internationally, the 2018 Mental Health & Creativity Report is a first, but important step in an entire industry moving towards improving the health of everyone who works within it.

The 2018 Mental Health & Creativity Report can be downloaded here.